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Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

A HOMEMADE BREAKFAST TRADITION

Article by Kate Riffe

Photography by Kate Riffe

Christmas morning is probably the most exciting day of the year. We have so many traditions as a family, and one of my favorites has always been homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Of course, you could always grab a can of cinnamon rolls from the grocery store—but you really can’t beat this homemade version! You can prepare them the day before and let them rise overnight in the fridge, and just pop them in the oven in the morning for an easy but impressive breakfast. Serve alongside some thick-cut bacon and some coffee for an extra special treat!

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 4 tablespoons soft, unsalted butter
  • 3 1/3 cups of flour, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg

For the filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 cup softened, unsalted butter

For the icing

  • 2 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 7 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Directions

For the cinnamon roll dough

  1. Lightly grease a large bowl and set it aside, as well as a greased 9x13 baking dish.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm milk until tiny bubbles start to form around the sides. Add in the butter until completely melted, then take off the heat and set aside. Let cool while you are mixing the dry ingredients.
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt; then mix on low until incorporated. Add in egg and warm milk/butter mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Add in remaining flour, a little bit at a time, mixing well.
  5. After all flour has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. The dough should form a nice, round ball around the dough hook and pull away from the edges of the bowl.
  6. Transfer dough into prepared bowl and allow to rise about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  7. When dough is ready to be rolled out, punch down dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out dough into a 12x18 inch rectangle.

For the filling

  1. In a medium bowl, add both sugars, spices, and softened butter. Mix well into a uniform paste. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread mixture evenly on the rolled dough.
  2. Tightly roll up dough into an 18 inch log, and with either a very sharp knife or unflavored dental floss, slice into 12 even sections.
  3. Place the rolls cut side up into your prepared baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 8-12 hours.
  4. In the morning when you're ready to bake, take the pan out and allow to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours. They should puff up and be almost doubled in size.
  5. Preheat your oven to 375° as the rolls are rising. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before putting on the glaze.

For the glaze

  1. In a large measuring cup, combine all ingredients until a smooth glaze forms. If you want a slightly thinner glaze add more milk, if you want it a little thicker add more powdered sugar.
  2. Drizzle the icing over the warm cinnamon rolls and eat right way!

If there are any leftovers, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to two days. I hope you enjoy these tasty cinnamon rolls with your family this Christmas season!

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